Chris Paul said players want to resume season amid coronavirus pandemic: 'We want to play bad'

The NBA is still working to come up with a plan for the remainder of the 2019-20 season, more than two months after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the league to suspend operations. 

Oklahoma City Thunder guard and president of the Players’ Association Chris Paul is well enough aware of how difficult resuming play amid the global health crisis is and will be in the coming weeks. 

[ Coronavirus: How the sports world is responding to the pandemic ]

While there are plenty of questions still to be answered, Paul made on thing clear in an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols on Friday: The players want to play.

“A lot of hard conversations that have to be made, a lot of hard decisions,” Paul said on ESPN. “But with the team around us, I think ultimately we'll get to where we want to. Obviously we want to play. Oh man, we want to play. We want to play bad, too. And I think that's a consensus for the guys around the league. 

“We want it to be, obviously, as safe as possible. But the biggest thing is, we miss the game.”

There were more than 1.4 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States as of Friday afternoon, according to The New York Times, and nearly 87,000 deaths attributed to it. 

The league has been considering several possibilities to finish the season, including holding games without fans or using quarantined locations like in Las Vegas or Disney World to do so. The second idea, however, has raised plenty of logistical issues — the NBPA executive director likened that to “incarceration” last week

Paul, along with several other league stars like LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and others, all agreed in a conference call on Monday that they would take the court with proper safety measures in place once the NBA says it’s OK to do so

How to get to that point, Paul said, is still unclear. 

“I don't have the answers,” Paul said on ESPN. “I don't have all the answers. But I know that people are working tirelessly, trying to figure it out.”

Others, like Hall of Famer and current league analyst Shaquille O’Neal, thinks that the season should just be scrapped altogether. If play does resume at some point, it could very well produce an unfair scenario in the postseason — whatever that may look like. 

Though Paul acknowledged that’s a potential issue, he said it’s not the time to worry about it yet. 

“I think it's a combination of a lot of things,” Paul said on ESPN. “But at the end of the day, right now, no one expected this and knew that this was coming.

“So what is normal now? So I think that's what we're trying to figure out is what it looks like, and until we find those answers and we can come up with an actual plan, right now it's basically sit and wait, so that the virus is in control.”

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